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Stagecoach Mary

The Toledo Blade

NEHGS and African-American Genealogy

Three regional organizations form partnership to highlight importance of African American family history

Boston, MA – February 9, 2010 – The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announced a new collaboration that brings together three Boston-area organizations dedicated to the research, understanding, and education of African American family history. NEHGS, along with the Museum of African American History (MAAH) and the New England Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS-NE), are bringing together their unique resources and expertise to bridge what has typically been viewed as a gap in the connection between African American family stories and the rich New England regional history.

To kick off the initiative, NEHGS launched www.AfricanAmericanAncestors.org, a web portal designed to assist those conducting research with ties to the African American community around New England.  The portal includes resources, content, and articles assisting with African American family history research. Nearly 100 people were in attendance for the launch, including Tony Burroughs, author of “Black Roots,” MAAH director Beverly Morgan-Welch, AAHGS-NE president Leona Martin, and APG Vice President Kenyatta Berry.

D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS President and CEO, said, “We are delighted to have such an incredible opportunity to work with these wonderful partners. It will allow us all to showcase the tremendous collection of resources, materials, and expertise we each have for African American research. Ultimately, we hope family historians of all levels will have greater access and understanding of their family and its place in New England history.”

In the coming months, the three organizations will plan new initiatives, programs, education opportunities, and other special events designed to highlight the unique areas of expertise for each group while providing access to content, tools, and resources.

NEHGS, founded in 1845, is one of the country’s leading resources for genealogy and family history research. MAAH is New England’s largest museum dedicated to preserving, conserving, and interpreting the contributions of African Americans. Working together with AAHGS New England, the organizations will begin collaborating on programs, events, lectures, exhibits, and other ways that help bring family and history together in ways that haven’t been examined before.


About NEHGS Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country’s leading resource for family history research. We help family historians expand their knowledge, skill, and understanding of their family and its place in history. The NEHGS research center, located at 99 Newbury Street, Boston, houses millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy.

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Family Tree DNA Family Finder

Houston, TX – February 16, 2010 – Family Tree DNA, the pioneer and largest DNA testing company for genealogy purposes, is launching today their newest test – named Family Finder – which will allow connecting with family members across all ancestral lines. “This is the most exciting genetic genealogy breakthrough since the company launched its Y-DNA test, which uncovers relatives in the direct paternal line”, says Bennett Greenspan, founder and CEO of Family Tree DNA. Initially available to current Family Tree DNA members, Family Finder will be offered to the general public in mid-March.

While the Y-DNA matches men with a specific paternal line and the mtDNA finds potential relatives only along the maternal line, Family Finder can look for close relationships along all ancestral lines. Anyone, regardless of their gender, may now confidently match to male and female cousins from any of their family lines in the past five generations. The science – linked blocks of DNA across the 22 autosomal chromosomes are matched between two people. Based on this concept, Family Tree DNA bioinformatics team has worked extensively to develop the calculations that would yield the closeness of the relationship.

The possibilities to find matches abound: grandparents, aunts and uncles; half siblings; first, second, third and fourth cousins; and, more tentatively, fifth cousins.

Unlike other companies that offer autosomal testing for relationship purposes, the Family Tree DNA “Family Finder” focuses on the genealogy of the test takers: matching contact names and email addresses are readily available for easy communication, and special tools have been developed to assist in the genealogy and matching process.

About Family Tree DNA

Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes, something that had previously been available only for academic and scientific research. Almost a decade later, the Houston-based company has a database with over 280,000 individual records – the largest DNA database in genetic genealogy, and a number that makes Family Tree DNA the prime source for anyone researching recent and distant family ties. In 2006 Family Tree DNA established a state of the art Genomics Research Center at its headquarters in Houston, Texas, where it currently performs R&D and processes over 200 advanced types of DNA tests for its customers.

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African Burial Ground Visitor Center

African Burial Ground Visitor Center New York

Genealogy Cruise

The largest family history conference on the seas.

Wholly Genes, Inc., of Columbia, Maryland, is proud to announce the 2010 Genealogy Conference and Cruise, September 18-25, 2010.  With an impressive list of world-class speakers and as many as 450 researchers, this annual event has earned the reputation as the largest family history conference on the seas and is nearly always sold out. But this year it will truly be an EPIC event.

This year the conference will be held upon the Norwegian Epic, the newest and one of the largest cruise ships in the Caribbean. It is so new, in fact, that its maiden voyage isn’t until July.  The Epic offers tremendous meeting facilities, dozens of dining options, and an amazing nightlife that includes Blue Man Group, Second City Comedy Troupe, and Cirque Dreams, an acrobatic dinner theater.

Over the course of the week, the ship will travel round-trip from Miami, visiting Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Roatan, Honduras, plus three days at sea during which the group will hear from a star-studded line-up of genealogical speakers, including:

-  Lloyd Bockstruck, the 30-year veteran Supervisor of the Dallas Public Library.  Upon his retirement in 2009, he was described as “easily the most sought after lecturer for annual seminars of local and state genealogical societies”;

-  Dr. Stephen P. Morse, whose long resume includes the development of the “One-Step” web portal, the extremely popular search engine for the Ellis Island databases and dozens of other on-line resources;

-  Hank Jones, FASG, noted genealogist, author, popular speaker, singer, songwriter, and former Hollywood actor;

-  Megan Smolenyak, professional genealogist, extremely-popular author and speaker on research methodology, DNA, and other topics;

-  Craig Scott, CG, certified genealogist, publisher, speaker, and military record expert.

Although Wholly Genes makes family history software, the 15+ hours of genealogical lectures are completely software-neutral and presented by the preeminent experts in their fields. Attendees from around the world will soak up new knowledge and skills through a lecture series that rivals any regional or national genealogy conference. And, unlike many traditional conferences, none of the lecture times overlap so conference-goers won’t have to make those difficult choices.

Of course, users of the company’s software, The Master Genealogist (TMG), will also find a variety of opportunities to learn how to make use of its features and companion products from the developers themselves, technical support staff, and expert users. The company’s annual conference is the only time that you will find so many TMG experts in one place.

“We’re very conscious of the economic conditions and go out of our way to make this conference a great value and extremely cost-effective event,” said Bob Velke, President of Wholly Genes, Inc., “which in part explains its popularity.”  The price of the conference has not substantially increased in five years.  “In fact,” said Velke, “with the early-bird discount that expires on March 15th, the starting price is lower than any of our conference/cruises since 2005.”

“The ship this year also includes single cabins so researchers won’t need to have a roommate,” said Velke.  Prices include the cruise, food, shipboard entertainment, and attendance to all conference events. A roommate-finding service is also available. Complete details can be found at www.WhollyGenes.com/cruise.htm.

About the company:
Wholly Genes Software is a privately held corporation founded in 1993 with the goal of providing professional-caliber software tools to family historians. Its flagship product, The Master Genealogist, is among the highest rated family history project managers and is in use in more than 30 countries around the world.

National Archives Genealogy Fair

WHAT:  The National Archives will host its sixth annual Genealogy Fair: The World of Genealogy on April 14 and 15, 2010, from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  This year’s two-day program will showcase the diversity of Federal records located at the National Archives as resources for family history research.  Speakers include National Archives staff, historians, and genealogy professionals. The fair will provide information and guidance for experienced genealogy professionals and novices alike. The fair is free and open to the public, and presented in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives.

Sessions include workshops on records relating to minority and ethnic groups including African Americans, Chinese, German, Irish, Japanese, Native Americans, and women, as well as a session on DNA genealogy testing, and an evening program on the new genealogy-based TV series Who Do You Think You Are? National Archives staff will demonstrate how to use databases including the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) and Access to Archival Databases (AAD).  Staff at the “Help! I’m Stuck” table will be available to assist researchers. For a full schedule of lectures and demonstrations, see:  http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/know-your-records/genealogy-fair.

WHEN:  Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, April 14, 9 a.m., Pennsylvania Avenue entrance  Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, will cut the ribbon to open the fair.

Genealogy Fair: Wednesday and Thursday, April 14-15, 2010, 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

WHERE:  National Archives Research Center Lobby and Pennsylvania Avenue Plaza.  National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC. Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Fair attendees will be given buttons at the Welcome Tent allowing entrance to the building. Government-issued photo ID or student ID is required to enter the building otherwise.

The closest Metro stop is the Archives/Navy Memorial stop on the Yellow and Green lines. The National Archives is fully accessible. To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) please e-mail reservations.nwe@nara.gov or call 202 357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event.

WHO:  Speakers include historian at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Zack Wilske; professional genealogists Susannah Brooks, Elizabeth K. Kerstens, Marie V. Melchiori, and Thomas Shawker M.D.; and National Archives experts Patrick Connelly, Rebecca Crawford, Damani Davis, John Deeben, Claire P. Kluskens, Trevor Plante, Constance Potter, Mary Frances Ronan, Rebecca Sharp, Katherine Vollen, and Reginald Washington.  Guest exhibitors include the Library of Congress, Washington DC Family History Center, FamilySearch, Federation of Genealogical Societies, and local county genealogical societies.

Background:  The National Archives holds the permanently valuable records of the Federal government. These include records of interest to genealogists, such as pension files, census and Freedmen’s Bureau materials. For information on National Archives holdings see www.archives.gov.


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